Federal Government Collected Record Taxes in Fiscal 2021

Terence P. Jeffrey | October 25, 2021 | 12:22pm EDT
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(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The federal government collected a record $4,045,979,000,000 in taxes in fiscal 2021, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement for September, which is the final month of the federal fiscal year.

Federal spending also hit a nominal high of $6,818,158,000,000 in fiscal 2021, up from the $6,551,872,000,000 that the federal government spent in fiscal 2020. However, when the $6,551,872,000,000 the federal government spent last year is adjusted for inflation from September 2020 dollars into September 2021 dollars it equals $6,905,040,760,000—thus, exceeding this fiscal year’s total of $6,818,158,000,000.

Before this year, the record for federal tax collections occurred in fiscal 2016, when the Treasury collected $3,711,701,940,000 in taxes in constant September 2021 dollars.

This year’s record federal tax collections of $4,045,979,000,000 included $2,044,377,000,000 in individual income taxes; $1,257,487,000,000 in payroll taxes; $79,985,000,000 in customs duties; $75,271,000,000 in excise taxes; $56,602,000,000 in unemployment insurance taxes; and $27,140 in estate and gift taxes.

Despite collecting record taxes in fiscal 2021, the federal government also ran a deficit of $2,772,179,000,000 for the fiscal year. That was the second highest deficit in the nation’s history, following the record deficit of $3,300,738,250,000 (in constant September 2021 dollars) that the Treasury ran in fiscal 2020.

2021 was the first fiscal year in the nation’s history when federal tax collections exceeded $4 trillion.

It was the second fiscal year in the nation’s history when spending exceeded $6 trillion.

Prior to fiscal 2020, when federal spending hit the record level of $6,905,040,760,000, the highest federal spending had ever gone in a fiscal year was in fiscal 2019, when it hit $4,446,611,000,000 in constant September 2021 dollars.

The Department of Health and Human Services spent $1,466,673,000,000 in fiscal 2021. The Social Security Administration spent $1,192,453,000,000. The Department of Defense spent $717,585,000,000.

 (The historical dollar amounts in this story were adjusted to September 2021 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator.)

The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.

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